Yesterday it was exciting to try out the pieces I had written. I toy with the idea to not write anymore on the fourth movement, mostly because I feel tired and want to work on a new project, but ultimately, I listen through the entire piece, and then just the “ending” of where I had left off. Suddenly I hear in my mind a cello line! That’s what I needed to get started. So I start writing the cello line. Then I have an idea of how to add a viola to it, but before too long, I know more of how the cello continues.
And I go back, and the second violin part makes itself known, and now I’m just wondering how the first violin part will present itself, and then I’ll have to finish the viola line that is gaping with its unfinished-ness. There’s this part I really like in the second violin part, and I’m thinking of how to extend it into the other parts. I have lots of staccato eighth notes in this movement. So that is kind of the default articulation, and anything outside of that sounds like melody.
You may have heard uncounted piano accompaniments that sound like arpeggios without end. Yes, if you’ve heard a lot of popular accompaniments on the piano, it is typical for the piano. It doesn’t really stand out that much anymore. I’m thinking now of Gounod’s Ave Maria, which is written to Bach’s Prelude in C major from the Well tempered Klavier. It is a lovely piece on its own. I also think that it has inspired a lot of people to try and write the same kind of accompaniment to any kind of inane melody they come up with.
My point today is that an accompaniment doesn’t have to mimic this style of arpeggiated chords going and going and going and going like Bach (nothing against Bach! See my post yesterday). You can pick a different style, and listen to some Bartók for inspiration! Also, my second point is that the accompaniment in itself can be worth putting a lot of effort into. It shouldn’t come as an afterthought. Include it in the entire composition. I’ve said it before: the melody informs the harmony, but it also goes the other way, so the harmony makes a framework for the melody to dance in. Just like in jazz, where you have a bass line, and then improvise on top of that, you can write an accompaniment, and improvise on top of that. Composition is typically one person writing all the parts in advance, but it really has a lot in common with improvisation. You come up with one thing, and then the next, and then the next. It is too difficult to keep the entire piece in one’s mind all at once, and if you can keep just an idea in your mind, and then develop that, it is good enough.
So I am happy to have spat out a few more notes into my piece, and I’m hoping that I can write enough notes to make it feel complete before too long. I’ve got to start on the next project really soon, and I struggle with multi-tasking. I might have to start on it before completing this one though. I’ll tell you how it goes.